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Mind-Body in Cartesian Dualism and Darwinian Monism Essay


In this paper, I will speculate on Cartesian dualism and Darwinian monism. I will not undermine the postulates of science; instead, I will argue that Cartesian dualism offers a more common-sense explanation of reality compared to Darwinian monism.

My argument is based on the belief that the human body and mind are two distinct aspects of a human being. In this way, there are two dimensions of reality: a physical dimension with the body at its heart and a mental dimension that centers on the human mind. From this perspective, the relationship between body and mind can be compared to an aircraft and a pilot; although autopilot technologies are advanced, a successful flight is still impossible without the guidance of the human pilot.

A similar approach to determining the body/mind relationship is the foundation of dualism. According to Descartes, the body and mind are separate, meaning that as humans, we are able to perceive that our physical senses that should not always be trusted. From this perspective, we have a mind to analyze all of the signals sent by our body and make relevant conclusions about the reality in which we live. Nevertheless, the thinking process is not the attribute of the mind only. There is something bigger than the mind because the mind does not always operate according to biological patterns. This fact then points to the existence of a soul that is connected to a higher authority – the omniscient god living in all of us and guiding our thinking processes. Moreover, each person “doubts, understands, [conceives], affirms, denies, wills, refuses; that imagines also, and perceives.” These acts are the foundation of the thinking process. In my mind, the array of these feelings is hardly associated with the operation of the human body strictly according to biological patterns, which are focused on more primitive needs. Therefore, all people are thinking things.

On the other hand, Darwin claims that the body and the brain operate under certain biological patterns, just like an aircraft operates according to certain mechanistic principles. In this way, the body is a mindless thing, the result of evolution, natural mutations, and hereditary tendencies. From this perspective, the satisfaction of primary physical needs and the following of instincts are the only objectives for a human. In fact, the body is inseparable from need to survive – the essence of existing. If this is so, a human, as a purely biological machine, cannot exercise free will – the ability to choose between different actions due to a sense of responsibility, guilt, righteousness, or any other judgment.

From my viewpoint, the idea that we are like machines is not right because we do exercise free will. In this way, the human mind is more than just a collection of neurons that follow a particular biological pattern. Let us return to the example of the airplane and the pilot. Machines cannot question their existence or the directions they were given, just like they cannot avoid catastrophes or change routes without such acts being predetermined by the code. If people were machines, they would live only to survive and create offspring, because these are the primary biological patterns as Darwin stated. However, unlike machines, humans are capable of reasoning and questioning their own existence, both of which go far beyond pure biology. So, just like a pilot navigates an aircraft, each person drives his or her life, avoiding unforeseen accidents to reach the destination.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 16). Mind-Body in Cartesian Dualism and Darwinian Monism. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/mind-body-in-cartesian-dualism-and-darwinian-monism/

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"Mind-Body in Cartesian Dualism and Darwinian Monism." IvyPanda, 16 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/mind-body-in-cartesian-dualism-and-darwinian-monism/.

1. IvyPanda. "Mind-Body in Cartesian Dualism and Darwinian Monism." September 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mind-body-in-cartesian-dualism-and-darwinian-monism/.


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IvyPanda. "Mind-Body in Cartesian Dualism and Darwinian Monism." September 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mind-body-in-cartesian-dualism-and-darwinian-monism/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Mind-Body in Cartesian Dualism and Darwinian Monism." September 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mind-body-in-cartesian-dualism-and-darwinian-monism/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Mind-Body in Cartesian Dualism and Darwinian Monism'. 16 September.

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